Debtors' Prison Bill Passes Committee

Prison Inmate

The House Special Committee on Criminal Justice voted 10-0 to pass HB 192. Sponsored by Rep. Bruce DeGroot (R-Chesterfield), this bill is known as the debtors' prison bill because it ends a practice rampant in rural counties of imprisoning people who can't pay their board bills (cost of room and board in jails). The bill would also end show-cause hearings, which are mandatory hearings where the defendant needs to appear and explain why the judge shouldn't sentence him/her to jail for nonpayment of the board bills. The MCC spoke in support of this bill this week.

Last week the Missouri Supreme Court heard two cases relating to board bills. Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed an amicus brief in support of George Richey, a defendant who was charged with a $3,150 board bill. The high court has not yet issued a ruling in the cases.

February 18, 2019 - 8:24am

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